Bulghur wheat is an often overlooked ingredient – I think largely because of the “demon” word “wheat”. But let’s be clear there’s wheat (highly augmented varieties grown that are highly processed with next-to-no nutritional value and inflammatory to boot) OR there are ancient grains, grown organically that have kept nations alive through generations.
This quick cooking form of wheat features largely in Middle Eastern cuisine and is widely used in the Balkans. It’s made from wheat berries that have been precooked, dried and cracked. You’ll find it in the health section of the supermarket and specialty food stores.
Bulghur wheat is another good source of plant protein. Containing B vitamins and iron this light, chewy grain is a staple worth becoming familiar with and is full of flavour.
Perhaps it’s best known as the grain used in tabbouleh where it’s married with loads of parsley, mint, olive oil, garlic and lemon.
As a lover of bowls of steamed and cooked veggies I’m always looking for a variation on my standard sweet potato, rice, quinoa component.
This pilav does the job nicely. In the above photo it’s paired with roasted tomatoes, steamed kale & cauliflower, a few salad leaves and drizzled with a variation of vegan sour cream.
Bulghur Wheat Pilav
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp dried basil
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
1.5 cups bulghur wheat
2 cups warm water
In a covered pan sauté onion in olive oil for a few minutes. Add salt, pepper, basil and bay leaf. Cover and coat for 10 minutes until the onions are translucent and beginning to brown.
Stir in the bulghur. Toast for several minutes until the bulghur gets darker. Add water, cover and bring to the boil then reduce heat to very low. Let it steam for 15 minutes. Grains should be separate, tender and chewy.
Serve hot or warm.
Serve with Borlotti Bean Stew for a rich and delicious lunch or dinner.